Shotgrid has been ruined by ADSK

Anyone considering using Shotgrid, you should check out this thread from their forum. Support has basically disappeared. Many many users including myself reporting ZERO response on multiple tickets. ADSK ruins another software again.

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Awesome. I’ll stick with Google Spreadsheets for a while longer them.

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…I like NIM. Maybe it’s just me.

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I’ll second NiM also.

Not perfect but also not overwhelming.

Couldn’t have made the leap into our connected conform and openClips without NiM.

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Wow. That’s really disappointing.

Thanks for the heads up Alan.

I’ve used NIM and like it. Can’t say I’ve used it with massive integration into a large automated pipeline however. Interested in using ftrack. What have been your experiences been with ftrack?

We’re having issues too. Painful!

Have they released an official integration for flame or is it still home-spun stuff?

As far as I know, still the home spin off. Looks like it’s on their list, but who knows the priority. I feel like this is their chance to strike.

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Ftrack is painful to use with flame. The lack of integration makes it very time consuming. Added to which the actual layout is very microsoft (my shorthand for unintuitive).

Thanks @Alan.

About 20 years ago, Mikros Image started to build their own shots tracker.
It wasn’t too heavily driven by CG and/or production needs, or it didn’t feel like it.

From a compositing artist perspective, it really helped understanding what to expect (how a shot was built, layers of plates and cg’s mains elements…) , how to use things, and keeping track of progresses.

Since that, I’ve never seen anything really more efficient than a simple spreadsheet, from a flame artist or DFX sup perspective.

Of course, this is very subjective and depends on how we ‘brain’ that kind of stuff, how we’re all wired.

I’d like to ask the ‘community’ what everybody means by ‘shot tracker’, or what one would expect from such a thing, but I fear that it’s way too vague.

Some things seem quite elaborated but not practical at all for some. Specifically for compositing lads.

Is there really something better than spreadsheets or old school filemaker tools out there?

On the compositing side, I’ve seen 400+ shots done with spreadsheets, 100+ *N shots episodics, so many top end award winning commercials … all very efficiently.

So, where does shotgrid or other shot trackers make a difference for a compositor, for a flame artist for example?

I’m really not judging, I honestly don’t know and would love to hear what others think, how that kind of tools help, practically (again, from a compositor’s perspective).

Sorry for the long post, hope i’m not hijacking this thread.

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I am trying to distinguish this myself. I have chosen to think of a spreadsheet a shot tracker. It keeps all shot based notes and progress in one place. I do like NiM for this.

I have had experience with ShotGrid but only as a vendor and the system setup seems to be extensive and very thorough. I would call this more of a shot manager or project manager. It takes the project and manages and controls things to keep the shot tracking more efficient.

I love the idea of the whole shot management approach. Does it log my render and publish a colour corrected QuickTime? Will it know how long I spent doing a shot and does it log my time card? Maybe it will but you will need to have a coder on salary to make it do this stuff and to keep it running.

We have been running with NiM for as long as I have been with my company and the financial/producers are beginning to wish it did more for them. They are asking about ShotGrid and what it might offer. I can’t help but think “nothing but headaches” but I don’t want to be a pessimistic I just can’t be the one to help set up the system and code it to our personal need.

Any system that tracks data is only as good as the data people feed it and in my experience that tends to be the first place where most systems fall apart. Unless folks are religious about using the system in full the data is poor because the input is poor and lacks consistency.

Example being NIM can track artist time logged on a modeling task in Maya it if no one sets up that task or assigns it to an artist and that artist doesn’t log into the system and register that modeling task then there just ain’t no data…

Also I’ve found that where financial people tend to want to place emphasis doesn’t often line-up with how production structures jobs—or how pipeline TDS structure interdependent relational processes or how a CD leads based in a client schedule.

These disparate needs break most systems because they have different priorities. I guess the short way of saying what your CFO lacks might be the thing that ruins an otherwise perfect system for production.

I think shot tracking systems would take a huge step forward if they would begin with creating Houdini style PDGs for tasks so that systems understand how tasks are related and structured hierarchically. Seems like this would be CFO dreamland type shit not to mention giving producers and coordinators super granular understanding of what should be going on at all times.

Now what we’re we talking about?

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I’ve thought long and hard about this situation.

First of all, it is essential to have a package that integrates into the software. Having a software that you need to export footage then upload it and add metadata externally to your comp/3d/etc package is time consuming especially when you have more than 3 shots (which let’s face it, is normal these days).

I think it needs to have gantt charts built in - so like an old fashioned schedule - so it’s easy to see when people will be free or how long they will take to complete a task so you can use their time efficiently.

It needs to plug into the company communication system - be that slack/discord/google chat/whatever to alert people and then guide them to the work posting (ftrack was shit at this).

It needs to be able to hold client comments and be easy to search through them for a moratorium or complaint to defend the company’s action at the time and at a later date.

It needs to track assets and ideally help with archiving. In my head, as a company grows it is essential to be able to find old assets quickly and re-use or rejig for a future project. If working in commercials, this has to be quick of course.

As @cnoellert rightly points out, it is only as good as those who use it but hopefully with the right metadata manager: one that could be edited, it might be able to work.

Can shotgun/grid do this? It doesn’t sound like NIM can from @PlaceYourBetts post. In my experience, ftrack can’t do most of this. Of course you can work with an excel/google sheet but there are limitations and once you scale up, these limitations can become very time wasteful.

NIM can but few set it up correctly—most base NIM tasks on billable equivalents for the quote/invoice which don’t really equate to the processes/tasks required for completion so there’s disconnect built in from the getgo.

@cnoellert would you think shotgun or NiM is more likely to fulfil my list?

I’ve just seen Jordi Bares on the NiM homepage - I hope that doesn’t mean it’s complicated to use!

I’m going to say NIM over my admittedly limited Shotgrid experience.

It’s dead simple @johnt and can do your list for the most part to some extent with the exception of archiving.

But this shit is all so personal. Call up Andrew over there, set up a zoom or something and have him talk you through it. He’s rad because he can be your gun for hire if you need shit written that doesn’t exist in the system.

Beyond that I like the system for its simplicity, the producers like it for the bidding and scheduling. The 3d guys like the asset and file management so there’s something for everyone for us at least. There are review tools, inter-job communication and comments and status and whatnot. Do I use the review system? Not really. Could we? Sure but at some point we started use Frame.io.

Anyhow, nothing to lose getting a demo.

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I am certain that we are not using NiM to its full potential but what we are getting out of it is great for me as a project lead.

Not so much for the producers or scheduling. Some of this is us just not using it fully as @cnoellert says. I think that bidding to breakdown connection is absent and we have been trying to find a solution to this. Scheduling are not big fans of it and as a consequence we are starting with CETA this year. They think that CETA integrates well with ShotGrid hence their sudden interest.

I love your list and it raises some interesting points that I will pass on to our team @johnt

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There were a couple of other points which I missed off. One was linking the website videos to the project management software so you could find the ops who had worked on particular shots (helpful for bids). I wonder if frame.io might help with that?

Being able to cross ref assets with shots would also be useful: what I mean is like stock footage and cg with metadata like explosions, sky replacement so you can see finished shot, assets, and op.

All of this is essentially to make knowledge more explicit and easier for people in a company serve the clients.

Istill feel like there should be something* more simple like a hybrid between … frameIO and google sheets.

I actually feel like just setting up my own little database thing and have it all cutstom for my needs, Ive seen how fully integrated ftrack and shotgrid can work and I want this just in a way way smaller scale… I did not like NIM too much after giving that a go, doesnt seem to fit the way I work.

Or maybe i go and do ftrack in the cloud … meh i dont know. But once you go full shottracker everything … you cant go back, as a artist it wont matter much… but as a producer/supe its worth sooo much!